Did the ransom sacrifice even work?

by Sharpie 58 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    PP, I get what you are saying since there has never been a culture found in history that didn't have some sort of religion. Also the phrase "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" is something that we all experience especially as we age.

    But the issue here is Judeo-Christian belief found in scripture.


    Consider Psalm 49:15: “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.” In Hebrew thought, Sheol was the place of the dead. In this passage, the Psalmist expresses confidence that God will ransom his “soul” from the place of the dead and receive the Psalmist to himself at some point after death.

    Notice how his soul is characterized as "me". The bible uses pronouns for each of the parts of man - spirit, soul and body. Pronouns denote personhood and identity not things.

    According to Dr. John Cooper, “There is virtual consensus that the Israelites did believe in some sort of ethereal existence after death in a place called Sheol.”

    Consider the case of Saul and the medium of Endor (1 Samuel 28) Notice that Samuel, who had previously died, and whose body had been buried (v. 3), retains his personal identity in the shadowy underworld of Sheol. He still knows who he is, remembers Saul, and can function as the Lord’s prophet.

    Jesus provides more clarification.

    Mat 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    And consider Rev. 6: 9-11

    I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain

    because of the word of God, and

    because of the testimony which they had maintained;

    and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,

    “How long, O Lord, holy and true,

    will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood

    on those who dwell on the earth?”

    And there was given to each of them a white robe;

    and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer,

    until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren

    who were to be killed even as they had been,

    would be completed also.

    These dead souls in heaven could think, speak, remember, and be comforted just as we can because they are persons, just like us. I have highlighted the pronouns that characterize these dead souls who are talking as persons, not some sort of life principle or breath as the WT teaches.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    @ truthseeker

    So basically we have to die first to experience the benefits of the ransom sacrifice as a new creation or spirit.

    If you discount the benefits the bible describes in the here and now, I guess you could say that. But, I wouldn't. I'm having a pretty good time in the Sanctification phase of the process. Learning a lot with eyes wide open.

    The exception is if we happen to still be alive when the Lord returns "in the air" to evacuate his family prior to the GT commonly referred to as the rapture. Then, we are changed in the "twinkling of an eye" receiving a new glorified body with major systems upgrades. A body like Jesus had after he was resurrected - "we shall be like him". It is a tangible, physical body capable of thriving in heaven and earth.

    But even if we fall asleep in death before then, we will instantly be in the presence of the Lord. "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". - 2 Cor. 5: 8

  • Phizzy

    The concept of a "Ransom Sacrifice" as presented by JW/WT is not Biblical.

    They have to really twist scriptures, and put bits together from different Bible Books, and then weave in some Augustine of Hippo thinking.

  • Jeffro

    Did the ransom sacrifice even work happen?

    Given the conditions that existed in Judea in the first century as a Roman client kingdom, it is entirely unremarkable that an itinerant Jewish rabbi who started as a disciple of John the Baptist expressed ideas about Jewish independence and was subsequently executed by the Romans. Various Jewish sects existed at the time, and it is no stretch at all that someone from one such sect (e.g., Paul) became convinced by stories he heard about such a person (never actually meeting him himself) and associated them with reinterpretations of elements from the book of Daniel and other Jewish claims about a 'messiah'.

    In particular, an eclipse in 30CE at or around the time of Jesus' death (no, not 33CE) may have been a factor in making up stories that he, and his death in particular, was significant. Beyond that, everything about Jesus in the 'gospels' beyond his baptism and death is based entirely on hearsay that wasn't written down until decades after his death and is replete with superstition.

    It is especially notable that Paul, in his writings, seems to know basically nothing about Jesus' life other than his requisite 'sacrifice' and execution. All the biographical details came later as if stories were embellished as time went on rather than any well-established contemporaneous details from the outset. Even the inconsistent stories of Paul's 'conversion' in Acts came after Paul's own death, and they contradict his own separate account in Galatians (for example, according to Acts 9:8-23, Paul sees a 'vision' of Jesus, then immediately sees Ananias, stays with other Christians in Damascus, and then goes to Jerusalem, all of which blatantly contradicts Paul's own account at Galatians 1:15-16.)

    A common fallacious argument offered by believers is that first century Christians wouldn't be willing to die for their beliefs if Jesus wasn't actually resurrected (along with the other supernatural tales about him). This is, of course, incorrect, easily demonstrated by the fact that there are now people willing to die for the same beliefs, with no actual evidence that the events actually happened (as are people of other equally unfounded religious superstitions).

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze
    A common fallacious argument offered by believers is that first century Christians wouldn't be willing to die for their beliefs


    Skeptics aren't suggesting that that the apostles and others died for their beliefs. They are asking Christians to believe that the apostles and others died for their lies, for something they KNEW to not be true; because they said they were eye-witnesses.

    That is a whole 'nuther thing altogether.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    I notice that Sea Breeze said the following on page two of this topic thread. "The problem is that modern thinking is infected with Naturalistic Materialism." In actuality Naturalistic Materialism is NOT an infection. The belief in supernaturalism is an infection (an insidious one) of the mind of most humans and that infectious disease has existed throughout recorded history and probably started thousands of years prior. It has been spread from one human mind to another (it is a meme). Paul was heavily infected with the thinking when he spoke of having a battle with the forces of darkness. [Paul died for his false beliefs pertaining to Christ and his idea of the resurrection.] In contrast, I have a battle against teachings of supernaturalism.

    Scientists (including David Sinclair, who I mentioned in the Naturalism topic I created) using the mindset of Materialism and Naturalism are now reversing biological ageing! Think of how much could have been accomplished 1000 years ago if humanity had abandoned belief in supernatutalism over 1000 years ago and fully embraced science, naturalism, and scientific materialism! over 1000 years ago! See https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/12/health/reversing-aging-scn-wellness/index.html and https://time.com/6246864/reverse-aging-scientists-discover-milestone/ . Much like one of the WT's Bible (Job 33:25) based teachings (but without the supernaturalism) of flesh returning to youthfulness scientists are now restoring flesh back to youthfulness - but without supernatural means! Lab animals that were made prematurely biologically old have been made biologically young again - by means of Naturalistic Materialism!

    Sea Breeze, David Sinclair (a molecular biologist) uses the terminology of information theory in regards to the human genome and epigenome. That is something you can relate to for you also use that terminology. The CNN article article says in part the following.

    'The combined experiments, published for the first time Thursday in the journal Cell, challenge the scientific belief aging is the result of genetic mutations that undermine our DNA, creating a junkyard of damaged cellular tissue that can lead to deterioration, disease and death.

    “It’s not junk, it’s not damage that causes us to get old,” said Sinclair, who described the work last year at Life Itself, a health and wellness event presented in partnership with CNN.

    “We believe it’s a loss of information — a loss in the cell’s ability to read its original DNA so it forgets how to function — in much the same way an old computer may develop corrupted software. I call it the information theory of aging.

    Jae-Hyun Yang, a genetics research fellow in the Sinclair Lab who coauthored the paper, said he expects the findings “will transform the way we view the process of aging and the way we approach the treatment of diseases associated with aging.”

    ... “The astonishing finding is that there’s a backup copy of the software in the body that you can reset,” Sinclair said. “We’re showing why that software gets corrupted and how we can reboot the system by tapping into a reset switch that restores the cell’s ability to read the genome correctly again, as if it was young.”

    It doesn’t matter if the body is 50 or 75, healthy or wracked with disease, Sinclair said. Once that process has been triggered, “the body will then remember how to regenerate and will be young again, even if you’re already old and have an illness. Now, what that software is, we don’t know yet. At this point, we just know that we can flip the switch.” '

    The Time magazine article says in part the following.

    'In the Cell paper, Sinclair and his team report that not only can they age mice on an accelerated timeline, but they can also reverse the effects of that aging and restore some of the biological signs of youthfulness to the animals. That reversibility makes a strong case for the fact that the main drivers of aging aren’t mutations to the DNA, but miscues in the epigenetic instructions that somehow go awry. Sinclair has long proposed that aging is the result of losing critical instructions that cells need to continue functioning, in what he calls the Information Theory of Aging. “Underlying aging is information that is lost in cells, not just the accumulation of damage,” he says. “That’s a paradigm shift in how to think about aging. “

    His latest results seem to support that theory. It’s similar to the way software programs operate off hardware, but sometimes become corrupt and need a reboot, says Sinclair. “If the cause of aging was because a cell became full of mutations, then age reversal would not be possible,” he says. “But by showing that we can reverse the aging process, that shows that the system is intact, that there is a backup copy and the software needs to be rebooted.”

    In the mice, he and his team developed a way to reboot cells to restart the backup copy of epigenetic instructions, essentially erasing the corrupted signals that put the cells on the path toward aging. They mimicked the effects of aging on the epigenome by introducing breaks in the DNA of young mice. (Outside of the lab, epigenetic changes can be driven by a number of things, including smoking, exposure to pollution and chemicals.) Once “aged” in this way, within a matter of weeks Sinclair saw that the mice began to show signs of older age—including grey fur, lower body weight despite unaltered diet, reduced activity, and increased frailty.

    The rebooting came in the form of a gene therapy involving three genes that instruct cells to reprogram themselves—in the case of the mice, the instructions guided the cells to restart the epigenetic changes that defined their identity as, for example, kidney and skin cells, two cell types that are prone to the effects of aging. These genes came from the suite of so-called Yamanaka stem cells factors—a set of four genes that Nobel scientist Shinya Yamanaka in 2006 discovered can turn back the clock on adult cells to their embryonic, stem cell state so they can start their development, or differentiation process, all over again. Sinclair didn’t want to completely erase the cells’ epigenetic history, just reboot it enough to reset the epigenetic instructions. Using three of the four factors turned back the clock about 57%, enough to make the mice youthful again.

    “We’re not making stem cells, but turning back the clock so they can regain their identity,” says Sinclair. “I’ve been really surprised by how universally it works. We haven’t found a cell type yet that we can’t age forward and backward.

    Rejuvenating cells in mice is one thing, but will the process work in humans? That’s Sinclair’s next step, and his team is already testing the system in non-human primates. The researchers are attaching a biological switch that would allow them to turn the clock on and off by tying the activation of the reprogramming genes to an antibiotic, doxycycline. Giving the animals doxycycline would start reversing the clock, and stopping the drug would halt the process. Sinclair is currently lab-testing the system with human neurons, skin, and fibroblast cells, which contribute to connective tissue.'

    I encourage people to read both articles in their entirety.

    See also https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/31/europe/immortal-jellyfish-study-spain-scn-intl-hnk/index.html .

  • peacefulpete
    Skeptics aren't suggesting that that the apostles and others died for their beliefs. They are asking Christians to believe that the apostles and others died for their lies, for something they KNEW to not be true; because they said they were eye-witnesses.

    Nothing establishes a new movement like a few martyrs. Generously assuming that legends about their deaths are historical, all we have is a tale as old as religion. People killing and dying for their faith. Are to presume every visionary or prophet or who was killed must have been divinely moved?

    First we have Paul, like DisiJW just said Paul claimed only to have been fated, chosen before birth to be a visionary.

    But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…

    He also claimed to have had visions of the layers of heaven (as was commonly believed see Enoch) and heard secret unspeakable things that he kept to himself. (2Cor12)

    After years of preaching Paul goes to Jerusalem, to get to know a Cephus. More than a decade later he returned to Jerusalem again, met with Cephus, a John and a James. He did not mention anything about "eyewitnesses" only that they 'were esteemed to be pillars' in their church. The gospels had not yet been created so as to give these names a significance beyond that.

    Concerning the Gospels, we have a late anonymous narrative (Mark) filled with OT midrash that was anonymously redacted and expanded with even more midrash and legend. If this was the work of eyewitnesses, they surely would not have needed to cut and paste Mark and the OT as is evident the writers did.

    The only mention of eyewitnesses I can think of is in 1Cor 15 that leaps out as a formulaic creedal interpolation. It reflects a later layer of mythmaking not even seen in the Gospels and Acts.

    I know this review is not going to change your mind, but at least stop misrepresenting the position of those who are not convinced of the miraculous claims in Xtian writings.

  • Jeffro

    See Breeze:

    Skeptics aren't suggesting that that the apostles and others died for their beliefs. They are asking Christians to believe that the apostles and others died for their lies, for something they KNEW to not be true; because they said they were eye-witnesses.

    Wrong. Most of the claims of being eyewitnesses of Jesus come from the ‘gospels’ (including Luke-Acts), all of which were anonymously written decades after the alleged events. The exception is 1 Corinthians 15 as outlined by peacefulpete above, though it actually presents hearsay from Paul.

  • Jeffro

    Even according to the woefully inconsistent stories of Jesus’ resurrection in the ‘gospels’, the people who first saw him didn’t recognise that it was Jesus, and only later became convinced that it was him. None of them say Jesus appeared to only Peter first, contradicting the hearsay in 1 Corinthians.

  • Jeffro

    Sea Breeze:

    Skeptics aren't suggesting that that the apostles and others died for their beliefs.

    Nice attempt at straw manning the position of skeptics there though 😂

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